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fred vasseur ferrari boss

Marko: I see Ferrari weakening with man of many jobs Vasseur

fred vasseur ferrari boss

Helmut Marko took a cheeky swipe at Ferrari’s soon-to-be team principal Fred Vasseur, predicting the “man of many other jobs” will result in the great Italian team weakening even further.

Vasseur’s appointment came after immense pressure on Mattia Binotto got to a tipping point, the engineer turned team principal deciding to pack his bags and depart Maranello at the end of this month, with his French replacement quickly finding a place to live nearby the factory, and posing for PR snaps in Ferrari kit ASAP.

The powers that be at the sport’s most successful team, John Elkann and Benedetto Vigna – decided best to allow Binotto to walk rather than find him support to run the team; the Sergio Marchionne experiment to have the engineer, albeit a Ferrari man for nearly three decades, to run the show failed dismally.

Now, exacerbating the damage, instead of hanging on to one of the best engineers in the sport, they allowed him to leave and welcome Vasseur in his place for 2023 and beyond. How long the beyond remains to be seen.

Because of the Ferrari debacle during the course of the 2022 season, the biggest winners were of course Red Bull, whose Marko had some choice words about the changes at the Scuderia: “I don’t quite understand the change. I rate Binotto as an excellent engineer and politician.

“He was simply overwhelmed by the task but it would have been enough to provide him with a sports director who would support him on the track and with strategy. We certainly benefited from Ferrari’s strategic mistakes, from bad luck on their side, from the engine damage.

“Over the course of the season, they developed the car in such a way that it took more and more of the tyres. That’s what made us so confident in the race.

“I think that being 46 points down after the third race gave us a ‘now more than ever’ feeling, explained Marko, to Auto Motor und Sport, who was piquant with his assessment of Vasseur: “With the new man, who has many other jobs, I see a weakening for Ferrari.”

Beyond being a team principal Vasseur is a motorsport businessman, with interests in various projects over the years, including building 40 chassis for the inaugural Formula E series by his newly formed venture Spark Racing Technology; the company retains the contract.

Fred worked with Hamilton and Rosberg during their rise to F1

f1-vasseur_2_hamilton

Vasseur also started up the ASM F3 team in 1996, which became ART Grand Prix in 2004 when Nicholas Todt acquired shares. The team won the GP2 Series championship with Nico Rosberg in 2005 and Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

They even considered an F1 team entry a little over a decade ago, but that did not transpire. Instead, Vasseur’s F1 journey began officially began when he joined Renault as team principal for the 2016 F1 season but resigned at the end of that year, not seeing eye-to-eye with the team’s MD at the time Cyril Abiteboul.

Looking back on the Renault chapter, Vasseur recalled the reason for the split: “We had different ideas about how the team should be managed. At this point, it made sense from my perspective to leave the racing team which was also the best for Renault.

“If you want to excel in F1, the team needs a single leader and a way of doing things. If you have two different visions for the future, it only means that the work within the team will be slowed down,” said Fred.

In 2017, he was appointed Sauber racing team boss and managing director of the racing Swiss outfit, which had parted ways with Monisha Kaltenborn at the time.

Since then, Vasseur was part of the Hinwill team’s rebranding to Alfa Romeo with investment from Ferrari who supply the engines. There he worked closely developing Maranello’s junior drivers including Charles Leclerc, while providing a haven, for a couple of years, for retiring Kimi Raikkonen.

On 13 December 2022, Vasseur was confirmed as Ferrari’s 23rd F1 team principal since 1950 and will take charge at Maranello from January 2023 onwards.